Leeboard control rod attachment
While sailing a friends kayak the other day, I discovered something very cool. His rig was mounted a bit close to me and I found my paddle blade knocking into the leeboard control rods every now and again. It wasn’t a big deal until I slid the paddle blade between the control rod and the gunwale on one particular forward stroke and it took an awkward maneuver to remove the trapped paddle blade. Now for the cool part, I sat there in the cockpit pondering the situation when it hit me, attach the control rod from the underside of the leeboard head!
View from the cockpit
This effectively lowers the leeboard control rods and allows them to run flush against the hull. They are now completely out of the way. Wow, sometimes the answers are so simple. I love it! The only thing that takes a little getting used to is that the leeboard controls are reversed, meaning to lower the leeboard, one must now push on the control rod instead of pulling on it. I really like this new rigging technique and urge you to give it a try.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” (Carl Jung)
Creativity is something that we all have. This precious gift is little used by some and more highly developed in others. Kayak-sailors are quite creative, so are young children for that matter. Maybe this explains our immaturity, always wanting to go paddle-sailing instead of doing chores. Kidding aside, OK maybe I’m not kidding, I’m always amazed at how creative and clever people are when it comes to developing mounting systems for their rigs.
People enjoy creating their own mounts. Whether for aesthetics, functionality, or both, the variety of systems is truly impressive. The Kayaksailor fits many boats right out of the box, just strap it on and you are good to go, but some boats can use a little help. Interesting foredeck shapes, prominent hatch covers, fishing gear, tall cockpit coamings, are all possible reasons why one would build a custom mount.
Probably the most common mounting aid is the cross tube block. They are constructed from a variety of materials but most often from high density foam or wood. Cross tube blocks are typically used to help secure the rig on a peaked or scooped (concave surface from bow to cockpit) foredeck, but are also often used to raise the rig in order to clear deck gear or hatch covers. They can be used to level a rig or to raise the aft end of a rig to help open space beneath the boom for increased paddle efficiency when using large faced paddle blades.
The yellow one above I made myself from a small scrap piece of 2×4 pine that was laying around the garage. The bottom shape was determined by bending a wire coat hanger over the top of the foredeck. Using this wire as a template, a line was drawn on the side of the block and a jig saw was used to cut the bottom shape. The top has a groove, made by a router, for the cross tube to sit in. A Velcro strap could have been used instead to hold the cross tube in place. A little sand paper and some yellow paint gave it a nice finish that matched the boat.
Check out these beautiful mounting blocks made by Timothy Dunlap in Maryland. He attached the front block from below.
Some Kayaksailor enthusiasts like to make custom mounting brackets for their rig. Below, is a beautiful example of this style of mount made by Kimo Hogan in Calfornia for his Wilderness Systems Tarpon 12. The cross tube is held in place with an aluminum cap and machine screws, eliminating the need for cam-lock buckles and cinch straps. These brackets are made from machined aluminum, but I have seen some made from both wood and plastic. The front of the main body tube can also be held in a bracket. Check out this extremely cool front bracket decorated with wings that came off a 1937 Hudson Teraplane. Now that’s super Creative!
Custom mounts can also be made for folding craft. Here is a nice example of a clean mounting system for a Folbot Aleut, made by Gary G. from Massachusetts. He uses a longitudinal support to keep the rig supported slightly above the foredeck. The rig is held to the support with Velcro and D-ring patches are used instead of pad-eyes for securing the mounting straps to the hull.
Below is a very clever mount for a folder that Gerald Grace from Klepper America developed for securing the rig to the forward cockpit coaming of the Klepper. It’s unique cantilever design definitely shows thought and creativity.
Seeing creativity in action is truly inspiring, and these are just a very small sample of the cool mounts people have come up with. Now that your play instinct is stimulated, imagine yourself creating a custom mount for your own boat. Picture it ….What materials would you use?.. What would it look like?.. When you finish making it, send a photo or two. We would love to see it!
Fair winds and happy sailing!